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18. An Angel Appears to the Bethlehem Shepherds

This is one of my newest all-time-favorite paintings related to the nativity of Christ, even though the actual crèche scene is not shown here.

It’s so pretty. I love the colors. I love the delicate, but strong, posture of the angel messenger. I love the expressive faces on the shepherds. I love the sparkling shooting star overhead, marking the spot where the miracle of Heaven arrived.

Can you just imagine how they must have felt – and what they may have been thinking – at that very moment? Have your ever seen an angel, visibly or in your own ponderings? How does this one compare?

Annunciation to the Shepherds, by Heinrich Vogeler, 1902

By the way, “annunciation” is a fancy way of saying “announcement.” The word is most often used to speak of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary to announce her conception of God-initiated pregnancy with the Lord Jesus Christ (see Luke 1:26-38). But the word may also be applied to the angelic proclamation to the Bethlehem shepherds of the Lord’s birth.

Let’s just say it’s one of those long-time “churchy” words, and I’m glad I looked it up.

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